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Kishida comments on Russian invasion of Ukraine

NHK reported that Prime Minister Kishida met with the press following the conclusion of an NSC meeting that was convened hastily at around 3 p.m. in response to Russia’s launch of military operations in Ukraine. The prime minister, Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno, Foreign Minister Hayashi, and Defense Minister Kishi participated in the meeting. “We discussed the increasingly tense situation there,” the premier said. “I instructed relevant officials to ensure the safety of Japanese residents in Ukraine. I also instructed them to collect more detailed information about the situation. The Russian invasion trampled on the international order’s core principle of not allowing the status quo to be altered by force. We will respond to the unfolding situation in close coordination with the United States and the international community.”

 

The broadcaster separately reported that during an Upper House committee meeting earlier in the day, Kishida denied the possibility of Japan dispatching to Russia a Japanese envoy tasked with helping to deescalate the tension over Ukraine. In response to a suggestion from an opposition lawmaker that the prime minister ask former Prime Minister Mori, who maintains close bonds with President Putin, to go to Moscow to conduct diplomatic mediation, Kishida was quoted as saying: “We have currently no such plans. Personal connections or bonds between individuals matter when it comes to diplomacy. However, diplomacy must be conducted in accordance with international law and fundamental rules and ideals. Diplomacy should be built upon this principle.” He also commented on potential additional sanctions on Moscow by saying: “We have to swiftly consider additional steps if the situation worsens. A decision on further measures aimed at improving the situation will be made while taking into consideration Japan’s national interests.” The prime minister expressed hope that the punitive measures will help defuse the tension diplomatically, adding that Japan will never recognize the two Ukrainian breakaway regions as “independent.”

 

In a related development, Nikkei wrote that some LDP politicians regard Japan’s sanctions as “muted” compared with those of the United States and Europe. They are reportedly urging the Kishida administration to ramp up Japan’s sanctions by saying: “It is troubling to see Japan’s response being somewhat weaker in tone than the G7’s unified response.” 

 

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